I started my own writing journey three years ago and have collected some excellent advice along the way. So, I thought I’d put it down in a list for all my friends who have aspirations of writing that novel someday.
1.) Start writing now. If your serious about this goal of writing a book – start writing now. Writing is a craft that you can only learn by doing. You don’t necessarily need to start the novel yet – but just write something, anything. Start a journal, a blog, or a newsletter. Get into the habit of at least writing for 15 minutes a day. You’re going to need that habit later.
2.) Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read fiction, and non-fiction and something from every genre. Read short stories, and long stories and everything in between. Read good books and bad books. Read everything.
3.) Study your favorite authors. Take notes as you read them, what you like , what you didn’t like etc… I have even heard of physically writing down passages from your favorite author as an exercise. I haven’t done it myself yet, but you get the picture.
4.)Read books on writing. There are some really good books that give you the basic rules on writing craft. Off the top of my head I can think of Stephen King’s book, On Writing is excellent, so is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King. Google for this stuff – there’s a ton of really great books by professionals in the industry that will help you nip a lot of amateur writing mistakes in the bud.
5.) Learn to welcome critique. Yes it hurts, and yes it stings for a while afterwards but without it you will never grow as a writer – much less a person. And remember – writing is just words – and they need to be put down in a certain order for them to be understood. Nothing less, nothing more. (still hurts though, ain’t gonna lie! But after a while you do develop a thick skin and the crits don’t sting for nearly as long as they used to.)
6.) It takes the average writer 15 minutes (give or take) to write 250 words. If you write for 15 minutes a day, every day, for a year, you will have written about 90,000 words. 90,000 words is the size of a good novel!
When you finally do get around to writing that novel, you’ll have a good foundation and habits to build from.
So, start writing now!